Okay, so I commented once previously on the Washington Post‘s editorial standards, vis a’ vis whiney upper-class white guys and their entitlement to attention. The occasion was that a guy in one of the most affluent sections of Washington, DC (in the Northwest quadrant) got his tires slashed. The Post did 20 column inches on that story.
The result was to garner me scores of angry comments, virtually all of them fixated on the fact that I wasn’t properly admiring of this self-absorbed dickhead and his self-absorbed life. Almost nobody noticed the actual point: that the incident was trivial and only got the attention it did because of the distorted values of our society and our media.
As I noted:
The idea of the Washington Post devoting 20 paragraphs and an anguished photo to the story of a single car vandalism in the NE would be gut-splittingly ludicrous. Murders go unreported there, by the dozens. Every lesser crime, every imaginable urban misery, occurs there in handfuls, or scores, or hundreds of repetitions on a daily basis.
Nobody seemed to care that this was true, or even question whether it was. (Tgirsch later posted a revised version of the story, further insulating the dickhead from any negative attention so as to cajole people into noticing the real issue. His theory was that any failure to coddle people like him distracts readers. My theory was, and is, that whiney, self-absorbed, wealthy white dickheads get too much attention.)
But as it happens, we have a similar incident for comparison. Here’s how the Washington Post handled a story about a car-related incident in the Northeast quadrant this week:
Two people on bicycles fired shots as they pursued a car late Saturday in a Northeast Washington neighborhood on the edge of Capitol Hill, authorities said.
D.C. police said they received no reports of injuries or damage in connection with the incident, which occurred about 11:30 p.m. near 10th and F Streets NE.
Police said they had not yet learned of a motive in the incident, but said it did not appear to be a random attack.
Officers will patrol the area and will give special attention to people on bicycles as well as to enforcing traffic regulations, police said.
The area involved is a residential rowhouse neighborhood a bit more than a mile from the Capitol, and two blocks south of H Street NE.
That was it: 5 sentences. An attempted murder in the open street, shots fired in a residential neighborhood – the police have nothing and don’t even know where the bullets ended up; the Post gives it a couple inches of mostly whitespace.
Admittedly, nobody was actually hurt, but then, nobody was in the tire-slashing incident, either. The “shooters-on-bicycles” angle may seem kind of amusing (actually, it’s a telling clue to the social status of the shooters, if you know anything about DC), but I thought the mother’s-basement Hummer-loving dickhead was pretty chuckleicious, too. So why does that clown get 20 inches and a photo for some minor property damage, and the people affected by this incident get almost no attention for an attempted murder and life-threatening gunfire?
Here it is: “10th and F Streets NE“. Just to make that clearer, Wikipedia notes “The more affluent neighborhoods of Northwest Washington are typically safe, but reports of violent crime increase in poorer neighborhoods generally concentrated in the eastern portion of the city.”
This might help:
Still confused? Oh:
But please, feel free to call Hummer Boy again and tell him how bad you feel for him.